Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and president of Japan’s leading online shopping mall Rakuten, has never made a bis secret of his seeing Rakuten as a global brand (here is some detailed background).
This is especially interesting since Rakuten is the biggest “purely” Japanese web company there is (its market cap exceeds $8 billion currently and SoftBank has a lot of other non-web related businesses, while Yahoo has a US background). To put things into perspective, this is eight times more than LinkedIn’s current valuation and comes close to Facebook’s $10 billion valuation.
What Rakuten has achieved so far in terms of globalization is:
- establishing a service called Rakuten International Shipping Services on their Japanese site for customers who can’t speak Japanese
- setting up Rakuten Travel in English on their Japanese site for tourists looking for places to stay on their Japan trip
- setting up offices in the US, Taiwan, Korea, Guam, China, Thailand and Luxembourg
- buying and now running LinkShare (an affiliate marketing company) in the US for $425 million
Screenshot of Rakuten Taiwan‘s top page:
Mikitani gave an interesting interview to the Nikkei, Japan’s biggest business newspaper, a few days ago, stating this isn’t all. In essence, he said that:
- his company wants international sales to eventually reach 50%+ of all sales (the number hovers at around 10% currently)
- Taiwan’s market for Rakuten is about one-fourth the size of Japan’s and there’s a lot of room for further growth
- Asia (China) is the next target market, followed by the US
- American retailers should have the possibility to offer products on Rakuten’s Japanese site
- the malls of different countries could be interconnected, resulting in a global shopping mall
- 27 countries in total are on Rakuten’s list for internationalization (India is a high-potential market for Mikitani)
Mikitani also said his company is currently building a large-scale system, which is supposed to make it easier and quicker to roll out Rakuten services in multiple languages.
Although Rakuten allies with a big local company “uni-president” in Taiwan which has huge resources to promote it, but they’re still not doing well in Taiwan market. I guess they spent too much time to figure the localization problem out.
Really? Rakuten itself says things go pretty well in Taiwan.
It depends on which side you think. Check the pitcure below:
According to the information of Taiwan internet consulting company “ARO” ,in the reach rate ranking of Taiwan EC companies , Rakuten Taiwan is the no.9 player.
the full article is here : http://news.ixresearch.com/?p=286 , sorry there is no English version.